Posted by: Kerry Gans | February 23, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 02-23-2017

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday for February! I know February is a short month, but wow, it has flown by.

Lots of WordPress sites have been under attack of late. Nate Hoffelder has 5 steps you can take to secure your WordPress website today.

Do you know a bookseller who deserves to go to the Turin Book Fair? Enter them to win the International Book Fair Scholarship for US Booksellers 2017.

Susie Rodarme has 7 ways to support your local library right now.

Aimee Louw uses Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell to show how to properly write someone with a disability.

Is serialized fiction making a comeback? This app to turn more readers on to serialized fiction is betting “yes.”

Penguin Random House celebrates America’s literary spirit and local history across 50 states with its #UnitedStatesOfBooks social media campaign.

No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, the climate lately has been stressful for many people. Roni Loren discusses self-care in stressful times for the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), Ines Bellina talks self-care and reading, and Andrea Judy shows how to write when the world is overwhelming.


Dr. Richard Mabry ponders: what makes a story great? A gripping beginning is one element, and Shaila Patel shares the EGG method for engaging readers immediately.

Jami Gold talks story structure options for trilogies, and Laura Drake has tips for organizing your novel.

Jennifer Swanson reminds us that science writing is not just for non-fiction, and the Writer’s Relief Staff share 5 tips for writing a slice-of-life vignette.

Once writers get to the nitty-gritty, we have to pay attention to the smaller elements. Kristen Lamb discusses description and how to get it right, and Word Wise Tips shows how to find and fix passive voice in your writing.

Character is usually what sticks with the reader long after they close your book. Mary Kole warns about accidentally writing a wedge between your reader and your character, Diane O’Connell has a round-up of character development advice from multiple authors, Gillian Baker shares how to create a cozy mystery protagonist that readers love, The Script Lab gives us 5 keys to genius dialogue, Laurie Calkhoven uses meditation to uncover character, and L.E. DeLano explains how to use theater techniques to write better emotion.

Editing can be rough. Roz Morris shows how to kill your darlings with one question, Anne R. Allen lists 7 ways betas can improve your book, and Ruthanne Reid tackles the devastating realization that sometimes you simply have to start over with a manuscript.

Writing can be a mentally and emotionally grueling journey. Kristen Lamb explores how to deal with and learn from setbacks, Elizabeth S. Craig has time savers for writers, Chuck Wendig urges us to write unafraid, and Jennifer Brown advises treating your rocky path to publication as your MFA.


Lots of writers struggle to make ends meet. Eric Maisel shows how to find opportunities to teach to supplement writing income, Jane Friedman has tips for building an online writing course, and Elizabeth S. Craig has 10 tips for making a living writing fiction.

If you are self-publishing, there’s a lot you need to know. Jane Friedman gives us 9 Amazon statistics writers should know, David Kudler continues his detailed look at CSS and ebook formatting, and Cate Baum explains the pros and cons of POD vs. offset printing.

Agent Janet Reid takes exception to agents who charge for query or page evaluations.

Marketing starts with the people you know. Melinda Marshall Friesen lists 9 places to meet writers and start building your network.


In case you need a laugh: If Literature’s Biggest Romantics Could Text and 10+ Hilarious Reasons Why The English Language Is The Worst.

Blast from the past! Janet Burns brings us 15 mysterious facts about The Hardy Boys.

Take a tour of the Smithsonian’s love letter collection (video).

A Canadian professor discovers what could be the only moving footage of Marcel Proust.

Science says reading Harry Potter makes you a better person.

How many of you remember bookmobiles? (video)

In a Mission Impossible-style heist, thieves rappel into a London warehouse and steal rare books.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We will see you in March!

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